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March 7, 1986

Indoor Air Quality and Human Health

Author Affiliations

Cabot Corp Boston University School of Public Health

JAMA. 1986;255(9):1201-1202. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370090127039

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Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors and in the process are potentially exposed to a variety of substances capable of causing adverse health effects. Asbestos, formaldehyde, and the Legionella pneumophila bacterium are well-known inhabitants of public and commercial buildings and in some cases private residences, the areas of concern addressed by the author in this timely and informative publication. Isaac Turiel, staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory of the University of California, has written a highly readable and informative summary of the causes, consequences, and methods of prevention of indoor air pollution.

The author describes the major causes of indoor air pollution, including cigarette smoking, formaldehyde, and asbestos and other building materials. The author comments astutely on the wide-ranging issues of passive smoking and reviews the major works regarding the effects of passive smoking in indoor environments—in particular, the increased risk of lung cancer. Cigarette smoking,